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Kidney Cancer

What is kidney cancer?

Located behind the abdomen on each side of the spine, the kidneys are two fist-sized organs that filter waste out of the blood and transport waste to the bladder for elimination. This cancer develops as a tumor within the kidney. This tumor may grow or spread throughout the body.

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney cancer, accounting for approximately nine out of 10 of all instances of kidney cancer. Typically, RCC begins as a single tumor in one kidney. There are several subtypes of RCC, including:

  • Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (70% of all RCCs)
  • Papillary renal cell carcinoma (10% of all RCCs)
  • Chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (5% of all RCCs)
  • Very rare types (each comprising fewer than 1% of all RCCs)
    • Collecting duct RCC
    • Multilocular cystic RCC
    • Medullary carcinoma
    • Mucinous tubular and spindle cell carcinoma
    • Neuroblastoma-associated RCC
  • Unclassified renal cell carcinoma

Other types of kidney cancer exist in addition to renal cell carcinoma, including transitional cell carcinoma, renal sarcoma, and Wilms’ tumor (nephroblastoma), which occurs almost exclusively in children.

The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 62,700 new cases of kidney cancer in the U.S. in 2016, making it the tenth most common cancer in both men and women. Approximately 63% of kidney cancers are in men, 37% in women. While kidney cancer diagnoses have been rising over the last 20+ years (possibly due to better imaging technology), death rates have been slowly declining.

What are the risk factors for kidney cancer?

Risk of kidney cancer increases with age. The average age of diagnosis is 64; kidney cancer is very uncommon in individuals under the age of 45. Other risk factors include:

  • Gender: males are almost twice as likely than females
  • Race: Caucasian males are at a higher risk than African-American men
  • Environment: exposure to certain chemicals
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Treatment for kidney failure
  • Some inherited syndromes, such as von Hippel-Lindau disease, Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome, tuberous sclerosis and hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma.

Are there symptoms of kidney cancer?

Kidney cancer does not usually produce symptoms in its early stages. Signs and symptoms may include the following late-stage symptoms:

  • Blood in urine (may be red or cola-colored; may be visible or only seen through a microscope)
  • Fatigue
  • Fever that comes and goes
  • Lower back pain that does not resolve
  • Mass in flank
  • Painful urination
  • Weight loss

How do you screen for and detect kidney cancer?

Providers at Jordan Valley Cancer Center may test and diagnose kidney cancer using blood and urine tests, imaging tests (such as MRI or CT scan) or biopsy. Once kidney cancer is diagnosed, staging is possible. Staging allows for the oncologist(s) to draft an appropriate treatment plan. [note: link to new pages of same name (in this document)]

The Stages of Kidney Cancer

Oncologists at Jordan Valley Cancer Center use the following stages to describe kidney cancer:

  • Stage I: Tumor may be up to 2 ¾ inches in diameter, but is confined to the kidney.
  • Stage II: Tumor has grown in size from Stage I, but remains confined to the kidney.
  • Stage III: Tumor has grown beyond the kidney and has spread to the surrounding tissue and/or local lymph node.
  • Stage IV: Cancer has spread to multiple lymph nodes and/or remote areas of the body, such as the lungs, liver or bones.

How do you treat kidney cancer?

Jordan Valley Cancer Center brings a unique treatment philosophy to kidney cancer. By combining under one roof the advanced knowledge and skills of cancer specialists from a wide variety of backgrounds, we are able to offer patients a full spectrum of treatment modalities. Our integrative approach to kidney cancer treatment includes medical, radiation and surgical oncology. Select a kidney cancer treatment to learn more about the procedure:

The Patient Experience at Jordan Valley Cancer Center

As a patient of Jordan Valley Cancer Center, you will be paired with a Nurse Navigator, who serves as your educator and advocate. Should you have any questions about your condition or the options available to you, your Nurse Navigator can help. For more information about treating kidney cancer at Jordan Valley Cancer Center, please contact us at 801-601-2260.